ROANOKE, Va.- – After months of discussion and deliberation, the Roanoke City School Board changed the name of Stonewall Jackson Middle in a 6 to 1 vote. 10 News Irisha Jones has reaction from the family of the man whose name will replace a confederate icon on a local school.
The school will be renamed for John P. Fishwick. A committee was formed earlier this year to review the potential name change.
Those in favor cited an opportunity to give students a different role model. Stonewall Jackson Middle School is taking on a new image.
It will now bear the name and hopefully the spirit of John P. Fishwick Sr. His son is the former United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, John Fishwick Jr.
"I think it's the greatest accomplishment of his life. The greatest award that you can ever have is having a school named after him," said Fishwick.
Fishwick said his father would be honored with the school board's decision.
"He's a graduate of the school and he was very proud of that. He also talked about Stonewall Jackson to us and others around him," he added.
The older Fishwick served as president of Norfolk and Western from 1970 to 1981. Under his leadership, he helped to merge Norfolk and Southern Railway.
He was also a businessman, a promoter of women at the railroad and a supporter of civil rights.
"My dad lived the American dream starting while Jackson at the time junior high school. He went on to go to Roanoke College and Harvard Law school from there," said Fishwick.
Fishwick said his dad's accomplishments would make him a great role model for students and adults.
"I would give him a big hug and congratulate him. He's the person I looked up to the most in my life and it would be an incredible honor to hug him and to say congratulations."
Fishwick Sr. died eight years ago. He would have been 102 this year.